by Wayne Westerman

Under the Wing of Wayne's SportHawk ...Always a Popular Hang Out at ClintonOn the morning of July 22, 2004 as the rosy glow of dawn back lighted the Capitan Mountains The SportHawk and I started our take off roll on runway 6 at Sierra Blanca airport on our thousand-mile trip to Clinton. We climbed to 8000’ and stayed there until the terrain would allow us to maintain 1000’+ AGL at 7500 MSL.

A little over four hours later we landed at Hutchinson, KN for fuel and a stretch. When I checked the HUT weather radar I did not like what I saw. There was an extensive area of inclement weather moving to the east north of Kansas City and Clinton was reporting 400 feet with two miles of visibility. However, Kirksville showed to be in the clear and so we launched to go have a look at it.

A little northeast of Kirksville the ceilings began to lower and a call to center indicated that there was no thunder ahead. I air filed with FSS and picked up my clearance about 15 minutes north east of Kirksville. VFR at 7500 MSL I had been enjoying 150 to 155 MPH ground speeds in light to moderate turbulence. ATC assigned 7000’ as my enroute altitude. Deciding that now would be a good time to find out just how good/bad an instrument platform the 150 is I turned off the autopilot. After about 45 minutes of hand flying in IMC with some pretty substantial turbulence I asked Center for and was given 5000 MSL. At 5000 the ride was smooth but I now had a 10 MPH headwind, I had been flying in the shear zone between two winds of very different direction and velocity. After about 30 minutes, about 20 miles South West of the Quad cities I decided that I had proven to my self that I can hand fly the SportHawk in some pretty rough IFR conditions. I had also established for myself that a 150 is a decent IFR platform in smooth conditions but a miserable one in turbulence. Just as I turned the autopilot one and started digging out the approach plates for Clinton we flew out of the clag into visibility of about 10 miles with good ceilings. We landed at Clinton after 8:48 of flying.

This was my third year at 
Clinton and I can truthfully say that it just gets better every year. The event is so well organized that it looks easy, although anyone who has ever worked such an event knows that it is anything but easy. The last that I heard there were 60 planes in attendance. Lori and Royson had all the ducks lined up for us and with the help of tireless workers like Stephen Mayotte (who not only took care of the planning and execution of the flying events but also very ably laid out the parking and enlisted the aid of such stalwarts as Jeff Davis to assist in receiving incoming aircraft.

As usual the flying events included throwing things out of airplanes, spot landing and short take off contest. However, this year Steve added another great event, a scavenger hunt, which consisted of flying a triangular course of about 90 to 100 miles and observing things from both the air and on the ground. Kirk Wennerstrom flew with me as observer, and boy is he ever observant. About halfway through the event Kirk noticed that my volt meter was reading 11.8 VDC rather than 13.8 VDC.

L to R, Lucky, Jeff, Wayne, Charles, Kirk, Matthew.We returned to Clinton to look for what I suspected to be a broken field wire. When I un-cowled the SportHawk a small crowd formed. Fortunately for me part of the crowd were Charles Hanna, Matthew Cummings and Jeff Davis. Since Rex has departed there is not a mechanic on the field so that my standard took kit of a $100 bill and a credit card was of little use.

After some quick diagnosis it was determined that the ring lug on the field wire had broken. Charles drug out his very complete toolbox and in short order the field wire was reconnected. In the process of reconnecting the field wire some loose exhaust clamps, a loose scat hose clamp and a couple of missing baffle springs were found. With all of the expert eyes prying into the innards of the SportHawk she got the best engine compartment inspection she has ever had. How can I ever thank you guys enough? (I’ll figure out something.)

With the deficiencies corrected Kirk and I mounted up and returned to the scavenger hunt. Due to Kirk’s keen powers of observation, all I did was drive, we ended up winning the event. I learned long ago while playing tennis doubles that the secret to winning is partner selection. To top it all Kirk told me to take the “Clyde” in as much as he already had one.

Charles gave an excellent and well-attended seminar on the care and feeding of nose struts. I counted fifty-two interested folks hanging on his every word. Hopefully there will be more of the same in the future.

Only twelve aircraft could take part in the short takeoff and spot landing contests. There were some good examples of airmanship.

The egg drop contest was a hoot. Each of twelve teams packaged an egg for dropping out of a 150/152 without breaking the hen fruit. The rule was simply if it isn’t wet it survived; all twelve survived. I think that we simply proved how robust the “fragile” really is. The main point of the project was a co-operative effort in selecting the materials and designing a delivery package. Great fun. It turned out that there was no real winner and no real loser in the contest.

Clyde Award Presentation: Stephen, Kirk and WayneThe banquet Saturday evening was roaring success. In addition to presenting awards a new and very entertaining and enlightening contest was conducted. Each person in attendance was given a 3”x5” card upon which they wrote something about themselves that no one would know. Anyone guessing the author won a “door prize”; if no one guessed correctly the author won the prize. When the prizes had been exhausted Royson just read the cards and the author stood up and acknowledged the statement.

The highlight of the banquet for me was when I was selected to take Clyde The Flying Bear to Oshkosh and thence to West Texas
 and New Mexico.

file:///G:/Google%20Drive/CESSNA150152/bluegowild/wildapricot/CLINTON/clinton2004OLD/westerman.htm#:~:text=While%20at%20Clinton%20I%20fell%20in%20love!%20Elizabeth%20Cummings%20has%20stolen%20my%20heart....Thanks ever so much to all of those who worked so hard to make the Clinton event such a pleasurable experience. There is no way that we can fully express our appreciation for your imagination and hard work.

We can also be very thankful for the wonderful weather that blessed us at Clinton this year. Unlike the past three years when the weather was hot and humid we had wonderfully pleasant weather; it was almost cold on Saturday morning.

The club members that missed Clinton this year really missed a grand experience.

Do yourself a favor and start planning to attend next year, I have.

I little before noon a flight of four 150/152 departed CWI for OSH. With a fuel stop at PortageWI we arrived over Ripon about 1:00. I was prepared for mass confusion in the vicinity of Oshkosh; I couldn’t have been more wrong. Just follow the railroad tracks from Ripon, make a slight right turn and land on runway 9 then get in the grass to make room for the plane behind you. I have been to a lot of pancake breakfasts that were a lot more stressful. Those tower guys have their act together, as does everyone at Airventure.

I expected Oshkosh to be really big; it is huge. There is just no way that anyone could imagine the size and scope of AirVenture without being there. The event is a miracle of efficiency and organization.

I had been led to expect a very expensive event; again not so. The camping fee is a bit stiff at $17 per day but for that you not only get a parking spot but hot showers and almost free transportation to the main entrance (you can make a voluntary contribution of $0.25 for each bus ride, the trolley is totally free. I had a hot breakfast (sausage and eggs with coffee) each morning for about $6, not too bad.

After spending three days gawking at every imaginable make and model of airplane, poking through the flee market and pestering the commercial vendors I told Clyde that it was time to head southwest. I got a thorough briefing at the mobile FSS at the main gate. The briefing promised clear skies and light tail winds all the way from OHS to MDD. Didn’t happen just that way. All the way to our first fuel stop at Chillicothe, MO we had 20 to 25 MPH headwinds. The computer showed a band of low ceilings with light to moderate rain southwest of KC. Leaving Chillicothe we stayed low in preparation for the low stuff ahead. We weren’t disappointed. Southwest of KC the clouds began to lower and center told me that there were embedded thunderstorms out there too. No IFR for me that day. As the ceiling approached 1000 AGL I turned north and wound up stopping at Salina, KN; bad choice. SLN is a huge airport with lots of construction and controllers with a bad attitude. Throw in $2.97 fuel and a restricted area to the southwest and a hot MOA to the west and you have just about defined a sorry fuel stop. To boot stopping that soon prevented me from making the trip in two stops.

We worked our way through the special use air space and turned southwest again at Russell. A few miles farther to the southwest we encountered a solid line of thunderstorms running north and south extending to about half way between Amarillo and Lubbock.

As we approached Lubbock my fuel computer told me that I had just over an hour of fuel remaining. I tuned in Lubbock approach about 50 miles out and after a couple of minutes I checked to be sure that I had used the correct frequency, the air was completely dead. Things changed very quickly though; it seems that all of the airlines serving Lubbock had scheduled a flight to arrive exactly when I did. Being a little 150 a got a vector about 20 miles to the east of LBB before I was allowed to turn in to the airport. When I landed my fuel computer told me that I had 35 minutes of fuel left. (A good reason for using a one hour reserve rather than the FAA’s 30 minutes). After a leisurely fuel stop of 45 minutes Clyde and I were on our way to our last one-hour leg to Midland Air Park.

After leaving OCH at 6:15 AM we arrived at MDD at 8:25 PM, 14:10 of travel. Needless to say Clyde and I were both weary.

We spent Thursday running errands in Midland and getting some badly needed rest and recuperation before flying off to Ruidoso, NM at daybreak on Friday morning.

What a great week! Seven days totally immersed in aviation! Can’t wait until next year.

Wayne Westerman
Midland, TX

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